Shop Native Artists of the Month: Erik and Amanda Brodt

Shop Native Artists of the Month: Erik and Amanda Brodt
Each month, we're celebrating a Native American artist, whose work you can find on our Shop Native directory, which features both Native American products and products made for Natives. These products include clothing, beauty, beadwork, herbal, art, blankets, and more. With over 40 companies and products already listed, the directory is attracting visitors from around the world.  
This month, we're featuring husband-and-wife team, Erik and Amanda Brodt from Ginew, a Native-owned apparel company.
They're from Wisconsin, but currently live in Portland, Oregon. Their family story is a contemporary Native American narrative, with each item they make drawing direct inspiration from their cultures and relatives.
They shared a little more about what goes into their work at Ginew:

When did you start the label and what was the inspiration for the launch? 

Ginew originally grew out of our wedding ceremony. Erik’s father shot a buffalo for the wedding—and we prepared the hide from the buffalo in the garage. We wanted to give a more meaningful gift to those who helped with the ceremony and decided on buffalo belts made from our wedding buffalo. One thing led to another, and we ended up starting a tiny leather goods business in our apartment, which was the primary focus until the leather goods market became saturated. (Amanda)

Why Ginew (what does it mean)?

Ginew is part of Erik’s Anishinaabe (Ojbiwe) name. it means “brown or golden eagle.” (We’ve written about this previously here. What is important is that when we launched as a brand, many non-Indigenous people in the global fashion ecosystem did not understand or comprehend us—as our very existence collided with their “Hollywood-driven” impressions of what it means to be “Native American.” There are so many tribes, each with unique customs, languages, beliefs, and values—and the nuances create a marvelous variation within the human experience. Initially, buyers and other brands would offer unsolicited advice about how we needed to change our name to something more “Native American” —until they realized they had never before encountered contemporary, Native American people ever in their lives. And this has been a delightful result of Ginew—to watch someone’s “ah-ha moment” when they realize that Native American people are, in fact, real and vibrant and present in the world today.

What’s your inspiration for your creations; and what makes your apparel and accessories so unique and different from other similar offerings?

We are deeply inspired by the lands and places we visit (the feel, smell, sights, and color palettes) and the stories of our relatives across time—be it truly contemporary designing pieces in the collection based on relatives who are still living—or reaching back through the oral-traditions shared to have thought experiments about relatives we have never met. Oftentimes, we do not even have photos to reference them. This last point has led us on a fantastic journey in speaking with elders and knowledge keepers—sometimes people outside of our family who carry stories of our relatives from generations ago. This experience has deepened our own understanding of our family stories and provided us with an even greater appreciation of the concept of “oral tradition,” which encapsulates stories of our tribal communities way beyond what is recorded in books.

Where is your merchandise available?

At present, mostly online ( as the pandemic has greatly reduced the retail industry around the Globe. Current store offerings include Goteborg Manufaktur (Sweden), Denim Heads (Prague, Czech Republic), Cobrarock (Marfa, Texas), Division Road (Seattle, Washington), and a host of other independent and boutique retailers. 

Do you both do this full time or is Ginew a side hustle? 

Ginew is our side job—a passion project and creative idea which serendipitously was born into a space where we express ourselves. We are both physicians—Amanda is a Gynecologic Oncologist (women’s cancer surgeon) and I am a Family Medicine physician. We both work in academic medicine for a medical school, pursuing research and educational programs—all of which aim to improve the health and wellness of indigenous people. A few years ago, we helped launch WE ARE HEALERS and OHSU NORTHWEST NATIVE AMERICAN CENTER OF EXCELLENCE. (Erik)

Do you have anything new and noteworthy coming up?

Yes, we have some amazing, highly durable tees and sweatshirts launching soon. These are based on garments that Erik has and still wears which were collegiate-grade and team-issue from his collegiate athletic days. This summer we realized the garments had been in rotation in his closet for over two decades and are still in fantastic shape. We recreated the cuts and (most importantly the fabrics)…and had them cut and sewn in a small, meticulous family factory known for their premium knit manufacturing. It’s exciting for us to have these garments emerge in the setting of a contemporary Native context (colorways and the story of a Native American collegiate athlete). The fabrics were custom knit for us…and it took the better part of the year to nail down the performance, feel, and appearance we wanted to lead with…very fun!

What would you say to the next generation of Native creators and business owners?

To the next generation of Native creatives and entrepreneurs: follow your dreams and stay true to your internal compass. Your voice and unique perspective matters and stands to make the world a more vibrant place. There is nothing more exciting than seeing the next generation rising up to achieve their fullest potential. We dream of the day when more Natives exist in this space and strive to both incubate and uplift Native youth in small business.

Featured image courtesy of Josue Rivas


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